Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Thunderbolt-Sill Traverse IV (5.9)
On July 17th Hunter Sibald and I hiked into the Palisades via North Big Pine Creek. We camped for the night in Sam Mack Meadows and in the morning hiked onto the Thunderbolt Glacier. Another team was in the col between Mt Winchell and Thunderbolt so we took a direct line onto the ridge. We climbed all five 14,000' peaks along the way. Thunderbolt Peak 14,003, Starlight 14,200', North Palisade 14,242' Polemonium Peak 14,200 and Mt Sill 14,162'. The traverse involved around 10 or so single rope rappels (we had a 50 meter x 8mm) and about 200' of belayed climbing on 5.7-5.9 sections (our rack consisted of 8 nuts and 6 cams). The climbing was exposed high quality Sierra granite with the bulk of it being 4th class-5.6 which we soloed in approach shoes. In Peter Crofts book "The Good, the Great and the Awesome" he gives this traverse his highest quality rating of three stars *** and a rating of IV (5.9) and we have to agree. The whole traverse took about 9 hours. As we sat on top of Mt Sill watching thunder clouds build along the ridge, we were joined by a dude who had just soloed the Temple/Gayley/Sill traverse via the Moon Goddess Arete. We hiked out that day and had dinner at Denny's in Bishop.